Monday, April 10, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who Highlanders & Outlanders

Back in 1966/67 a Doctor Who serial aired called "The Highlanders" and it featured the Second Doctor and introduced us to the soon-to-be companion Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines during the Battle of Culloden.

Jaime quickly became a favorite among the fans. In the late sixties, he was often voted the #1 fan favorite, and this also included "the best legs on TV."

One of those fans was author Diana Gabaldon. Who took her love of this episode and crafted her own tale about the Scottish Highlands, the Battle of Culloden, and Time Travel. One of the stars of these novels (and later) series was a Highlander named Jamie Fraser

Of course I am talking about the wildly successful "Outlander" novels and TV series.

I have never read the novels, but I have seen the series. It is quite fun really. The time-travel elements are only a plot device, as opposed to something central as in Doctor Who.  Frazer Hines even made a guest appearance. 

Outlander is not the only property inspired by Doctor Who, either directly or indirectly.

"DC's Legends of Tomorrow" (2016-2022) was part of the "Arrowverse" subset of DC Comics TV shows. It dealt with a group of misfit heroes, led by Rip Hunter, played by Arthur "Rory" Darvill (fresh off of Doctor Who). Now DC has always had time travel and Rip is an established character, but the Doctor Who elements here are turned way up.

Douglas Adams who was a script editor and writer for Doctor Who in the Tom Baker years gave us "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."  Not only was the book inspired by Adams, but Adams was also good friends with Lala "Romana II" Ward, and the Tenth Doctor even name-drops Adam's famous protagonist, Arthur Dent in "The Christmas Invasion."

One could argue that the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation are more or less Cybermen.  Comics publisher IDW makes this even clearer with their Doctor Who / Star Trek Crossovers.  It doesn't end there. For years fans speculated that Guinan, Whoopi Goldberg's character, was something akin to a Time Lord.  Same with the Travellers, which now include Wesley Crusher, and the "Supervisors" Tallinn (Star Trek Picard), and Gary Seven (Star Trek The Original Series).  Gary even has a sonic screwdriver-like device. So many in fact that this topic really deserves a post on it's own. Maybe I'll touch more on that later on.  IDW Comics also featured an "Assignment: Earth" comic and the original episode, "Assignment: Earth" which introduces Gary Seven, began with the Enterprise slingshotting to Earth in the 1960.

Bill & Ted, in their movies travels in time and space use a phone booth. You could argue that Rufus, played by George Carlin, was pretty close to a Time Lord.

The shadow of the Doctor is long. Both in their universe and ours.

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.


PT Dilloway said...

I think that Assignment Earth episode of TOS was supposed to be a backdoor pilot to sort of an American Doctor Who series but it never got off the ground--figuratively. It is funny in that episode how easily the Enterprise went back in time and for no real reason.

Donna B. McNicol said...

I read all the early Diana Gabaldon books and tried the tv series but couldn't get into it. I think I'll read the books again.

My A to Z Blogs
DB McNicol - Small Delights, Simple Pleasures, and Significant Memories
My Snap Memories - My Life in Black & White

Liz A. said...

I did not know that about Outlander, but it makes perfect sense. I read the Outlander books back in the '90s. I'm a late comer to Doctor Who (I've only seen the current iteration, from #9 to the present), so I never would have known this. Fascinating.

Kristin said...

I have seen and listened to Dr. Who over the years, but I've never seen the spin offs.